A new study at The University of Auckland to aims to measure how Māori identity shapes financial choices. Dr Carla Houkamau of the Māori and Pacific Development Department at the Business School says The Māori Identity and Financial Attitudes Study (MIFAS) may unlock the answers to why Māori are so economically disadvantaged.
Dr Houkamau (Ngāti Kere, Te Whānau o Tuwhakairiora) says, "Lower uptake of Kiwisaver, less likely to save for retirement, less likely to have personal savings and also less likely to enrol in a commerce degree or pursue an education in economics."
Where disparities exist, she sees potential.
"On the other side I see masses of resources in Iwi assets, and a Treaty of Waitangi claims process which is slowly starting to resolve so there's a huge amount of potential there."
MIFAS will help the researchers understand Māori attitudes towards money and spending behaviour, says Houkamau.
"What they prefer spending money on, how they budget, if they prepare for the future, we also ask about education. We're interested in values as well so what are the most important things that they value in life, family, well being, their own health, their children or even issues around sustainability."
She says the study aims to inform Māori economic policy that is more responsive to the cultural and social realities of Māori communities.
"We wanted to look at how do we align or understand Māori values so that they can really help build the Māori economy in a Māori way."
The research team encourage all Māori to do the Questionnaire which is available online.